Serving the High Plains

Logan moves graduation date to June 15

Citing concerns about insurance coverage and accountability during a senior trip to Alaska in June, the Logan Municipal Schools board voted unanimously last week to move the graduation ceremony from Memorial Day weekend to June 15.

The board during its September meeting approved the June 5-12 senior class trip, though superintendent Dennis Roch noted the student handbook requires such trips be taken before graduation. The board had voted to waive that requirement.

During the Oct. 9 meeting, Roch recommended moving the graduation date for several reasons, including the aforementioned handbook requirement.

He also said moving graduation would keep accountability and conduct rules in place during the trip, and students still would be covered by the district’s insurance policy in the case of an accident. Such coverage ends after a Logan senior graduates, he said.

Several seniors urged the graduation remain during Memorial Day weekend. Camryn Cantrell said moving the date “feels less than a high school graduation.”

Board member Toby Willis said he was sympathetic to those pleas and apologized to the seniors.

But he said the points Roch made to move the date were “valid,” and that both sides need to compromise on the matter.

“In hindsight, I regret we moved when we did (in September),” Willis said. “”We should have taken more time to dig and research into this.”

Roch noted several other Logan High School classes were discussing the prospect of a senior trip to Alaska in future years.

Board President Laurie Strebeck told seniors the move of the graduation date was “not personal,” but “this is what needs to happen to comply with policy.”

“It’s not ideal,” she said. “It’s not ideal for any of us, either.”

Board member Kene Terry also urged a compromise of a later graduation, saying the prospect of not having traveling seniors under the district’s insurance umbrella was “scary.”

Board member Kyle Perez said “it’s a huge issue” if an accident occurred during the Alaska trip after seniors had graduated.

The Class of 2024 has raised more than enough money to cover the estimated $40,000 cost for the Alaska ship cruise and air fare for 18 seniors and six adult chaperones.

The class hadn’t initially planned to take its trip that late, but the New Mexico Activities Association’s 2023-2024 calendar contained no breaks between the state softball and baseball tournaments. Alaska cruise ships also don’t run until late spring due to icy seas.

In other board business:

— Roch said the district has received a $4,400 settlement offer from a class-action lawsuit against Altria Group after it was accused of fueling a teen vaping epidemic. Roch noted the district has spent money on vape detectors and anti-vape training from Texas Tech University.

— Roch said on the advice of the only proposed contractor for the project, a request for proposals to resurface the football field’s parking area would be reissued in the spring. Roch said the contractor told him it was too late in the season to effectively redo the parking lot.